Talk:Monarch butterfly

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Donated content[edit]

(Note: I'm the person who labeled the viceroy (8/24/05), and I have also found several other errors in the written text. I rewrote most of the article, re-organizing it and correcting the errors; however I don't know how and don't feel equal to completing all of the highlighting/double-bracketing that the original article contained, so I have pasted my piece below, hoping that it might be useful. I have left the last two paragraphs untouched. I am connected with the Tyler Arboretum in Media, PA (USA) and they are the source of my information.)

The Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a well-known American butterfly. Its wings feature an easily recognizable orange and black pattern. The females have darker veins on their wings, and the males have a small black spot on a vein in the center of each hindwing (visible in the image to the right) from which pheromones are released.

METAMORPHOSIS The life cycle of the Monarch butterfly includes a change of form called complete metamorphosis, a process that entails four radically different stages and is common to many other insects. The specifics for the Monarch are as follows. First the eggs are laid by females on milkweed leaves. Second, after about 4 days the eggs hatch into tiny worm-like caterpillars. The caterpillars consume their egg cases and then feed on the milkweed leaves whose sap includes a substance called cardenolides, related to glycoside digitalis. This substance is both distasteful and poisonous to Blue jays and other would-be predators, but it is neither distasteful nor harmful to the monarch. The caterpillars eat almost constantly for 9 to 14 days; they grow rapidly, molting several times, until they reach an inch and a half to two inches in length. At this point they stop eating, find a sheltered place (often under a leaf) to attach their hind end with a small silken thread, hang upside down in a “J” position and then molt one final time, becoming encased in an articulated green exoskeleton. This pupa stage is called a chrysalis; during this period the caterpillar undergoes hormonal changes that activate its butterfly genes and suppress its caterpillar genes, thus enabling a complete reorganization from caterpillar to butterfly. After 10 days to 2 weeks the adult butterfly will emerge, able to fly, eat nectar and mate. Most generations will live 2 to 6 weeks. The poisonous cardenolides remain in the chrysalis and the adult, thus maintaining their defense against predation.

Monarch butterflies are brightly colored in order to ward off potential predators, as a signal that they both distasteful and poisonous. This defense works because most predators associate bright colors (especially orange and black or yellow and black) with poison and other unpleasant properties. This phenomenon is called aposematism. This defense is shared by the equally distasteful - and similar-appearing - Viceroy butterfly; it is an example of Mullerian mimicry.

MIGRATION Almost all species of butterflies spend the winter in one of two of their four life stages: either as an egg or as a pupa. Monarchs are, as far as we know, unique in that they over-winter as adult butterflies. Since the adults are much too fragile to tolerate the harsh cold weather of a northern winter they make massive southward migrations in late summer and early fall, and, beginning the following spring, gradually return north over the course of several generations. Thus each migratory round trip takes several generations (one long-lived and several shorter) to complete as follows. Monarchs emerging from their chrysalis from late August through October are members of this migratory generation, forgoing their mating and egg laying until the next spring. Instead they begin their migratory flights toward their over wintering locations: Populations east of the U.S. Rocky Mountains to mountains in Michoachacán, Mexico, and western populations to various sites in central coastal California, notably Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz. How this species manages to complete flights of such great distance and return to the same overwintering locations each year remains a mystery: It is the only migrating flight made by each autumnal generation: None of them has ever done it before. While the life-span of non-migratory adult monarchs is 2-6 weeks, the migratory butterflies live several months, migrating to their wintering grounds, and spend the winter in a kind of torpor (cooled and with greatly reduced metabolic rate). As the days gradually lengthen in early spring the butterflies begin to warm up. They mate and begin to fly north again, though they go only as far as they need to go to find the early milkweed growth; in the case of the eastern butterflies that is commonly southern Texas. As they fly the females keep stopping along the way to lay eggs on the new milkweed, the host plant for the new caterpillars as they hatch. The adults will soon die; the eggs will hatch in four days, the caterpillars will eat and grow for two weeks, will pupate and spend ten days as a chrysalis, and will emerge and live for two to six weeks as adult butterflies, gradually flying northward to take advantage of the northward progression of new milkweed for their egg-laying. Each succeeding generation will follow this life cycle pattern, gradually continuing north along with the milkweed until the end of summer, when once again there will be a migratory generation. (In addition to their normal southerly fall migration, a few east coast Monarchs manage transatlantic crossings, turning up in far southwest Britain in any year when the wind conditions are right.) Much of what we know of the Monarch migrations comes from a program called “Monarch Watch” whose activities include a tagging program (similar to bird banding).

You may want to update this page with the recent discovery on how the butterflies manage to migrate without getting lost. It's quite amazing really. Here's a link to some information:

= What happens to the Monarchs in New Zealand? = The article mentions that they are in New Zealand only in the summertime, but doesn't indicate where they might be the rest of the year. Surely they don't migrate from North America?

No, they overwinter in New Zealand. I wonder if they differ from the U.S. butterflies genetically, or if they are a recently introduced species.

Monarchs make it to Great Britain annually from Mexico, so some may have been blown to New Zealand and started a new overwinter location there, or they may have been transported there by humans.

Monarchs first came to NZ (according to the books) in the mid 1800s. It is understood that in the early 1800s some were blown or flew to Hawaii, later on they arrived in Rarotonga, and finally some got to NZ. They didn't breed here until the early 1900s when someone brought the Swan Plant (Gomphocarpus fruticosus) to NZ.

Here in Russell, Bay of Islands, some overwinter in diapause, while others continue to reproduce all year around.

Check out for more information. ''''Bold textItalic text

Monarch selection of milkweed plants.[edit]

Yesterday was in my lower field garden hoeing my beans and saw a caterpillar. Picked it up and placed it on one of several milkweed plants I saved for the butterflies and it rejected it. I pickedc it up several times placing it on the plant and it continued to fall off. I moved it to a different plant and it stayed and started eating the leaves. Why? or How does it select one over the other? 22:22, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

This caterpillar may well have been changing from one instar (stage) to another. They usually leave their host plant to do this, to avoid predators, as they are quite still for some time while shedding the skin they've outgrown. It's important not to move them when they're between stages.

Monarchs go through 4-5 instars (the number doesn't change, but it depends what you call the first instar, whether it's 4-5).

food sources[edit]

A topic which could be useful as a seperate heading in the article is food sources for the various stages. In particular listing alternative food sources for caterpillars should they strip the swan plant completely. I've tried Crown pumpkin slivers and caterpillars in their last instar phase do well on this.wikicharlie23 (talk) 00:43, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

The monarch eats ONLY MILKWEED. If they lived on pumpkins, they would DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do not be fooled by 'they eat pumpkins'. The milkweed plant has a poison in it that only monarch butterflies can eat, so predators stay away. Finally, the part about the pumpkin may actually be a VICEROY, not a monarch.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:41, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

Wanderer Butterfly[edit]

I was born and raised in New Zealand and I have never heard of the Monarch butterfly being called Wanderer Butterfly. Just thought I would mention that.

Likewise, I was born and raised here; I remember being told it was also known as the "Greater Wanderer" (perhaps as a US name?) but have only heard it called "Monarch Butterfly" here. Xurizaemon 00:50, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Monarch is by far the most common name the butterfly is know as in NZ (an impromptu survey of friends and flatmates confirmed this). Maybe Australians call them 'Wandering'? I suggest the wording is changed.

The google test would seem to back this up - wanderer butterfly "new zealand" - 52,700 hits; monarch butterfly "new zealand" - 178,000 hits. Or if you put the butterfly bit in quotes, wanderer: 604, monarch: 64,000. --Yath 11:45, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Relation with humans Comment[edit]

Editor might mention that it is (or was) the oficial mascot for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, USA and Mexico.

Editor might also mention the effect that Genetically Modified crops have on Monarch butterflies. "The May 1999 issue of Nature reported that Cornell University researchers had conducted laboratory tests that had shown that the use of a genetically modified Bt-corn variety could kill not only targeting pests, such as the corn borer, but also Monarch butterfly larvae. The monarch butterfly rapidly became a public symbol of the environmental hazards of GM crops." I got this from: — Preceding unsigned comment added by NA1654 (talkcontribs) 20:17, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

LiveMonarch external link[edit]

I suspect this website is a spam/scam. *Live Monarch Foundation They purport to be selling "milkweed seeds" due to the lack of milkweed for migrating monarch butterflies. Thinly veiled attempt at masking a commercial site? I ask you before I remove it.Nickrz 00:58, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
AND they are selling live butterflies for (wedding) release. Any outfit in that business cannot be on the up-and-up. "National Heritage Foundation" - take a look and see what you think that is.Nickrz 12:11, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

The proprietors of the website are completely unresponsive and I am removing the listing from this article. This link is too heavily loaded with pseudoscientific gobbledygook and commercial comeons to warrant inclusion in our article. "National Heritage Foundation" notwithstanding. Nickrz 12:11, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Popular culture = trivia[edit]

I've added a trivia template to the "popular culture" section of this article, and intend to remove the section pending your comments and suggestions. This article is about an important indicator species, and there is plenty of relevant content without including information about Spongebob or Malcom episodes, et al. Nickrz 12:07, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Vanity Images[edit]

This article is accumulating far too many vanity images. It is my intention to clean up extraneous images in the article text and perhaps relegate the best to the gallery. I'm also going to move the gallery to near the bottom and clean it of poor quality images. Please let me know of your thoughts, yea or nay. Nickrz 17:29, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

It probably shouldn't even have a gallery, unless there are unique, informative pictures we can't fit into the article. People do like to upload their pictures and stick them in articles, but there simply isn't room here for everything. Richard001 (talk) 06:32, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
I've eliminated the gallery, since most of the images were redundant to other images. The useful ones I broke out into their own individual thumbnails in the appropriate locations. I cleaned up the pictorial life-cycle to be more relevant and remove redundant images. There were three images of overwintering monarchs. I kept one of them in the life-cycle gallery. Should we keep a second one in the main text since the main text has a detailed discussion of the subject? -- RM 06:24, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Taxobox Image[edit]

I am reverting the taxobox image to one clearly showing the underside wing-markings; the current photograph, although spectacular and "picture-of-the-day", it shows the specimen at an angle and is such not a proper diagnostic image suitable for taxobox use. Nickrz (talk) 14:36, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

The other image does not clearly show the underside wing markings, because it is blurry. From an educational standpoint, it does not show the texture properly, the butterfly's eyes, the legs are obscured, and the probiscus is not clear. Since the butterfly is feeding in both pictures the latter point seems of critical importance. As for the angle, why is one any better than the other? It is purely opinion. Mine shows both the wing patterns and the place where the wings grow out of the body.
From a quality standpoint, my image is of higher resolution and as such is more useful for generic educational usage by users of Wikipedia, which is the whole point of this project. Wikipedia image choice policy prefers higher quality images in most cases. From an artistic standpoint or aesthetic point-of-view, the background is more pleasing in my image as well. Would a third-party please review this so I don't have to continue this revert war (which BTW, my image was there first, so technically it should be the one that stays in a dispute, so the third-party should also perform the revert while discussion is pending). -- RM 12:45, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
  • IMO The first image by Ram-Man is clearly a better quality and illustrates the subject at its best.Should stay--Mbz1 (talk) 15:21, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Bad referencing[edit]

This article currently cites only four sources, two of which are other wikipedia articles. The two non-wikipedia sources are very specific and do not contain all of the information found in this article. This article needs good, verifiable references to support its statements. --Luai lashire (talk) 16:18, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Some further readings would be good too. I can't believe someone cited Wikipedia itself... will have to see who it was. Richard001 (talk) 06:18, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Well I've addressed the "citing wikipedia" part, (and added references to the other article, also pretty empty of citations (state insects and state butterflies). Pro bug catcher (talkcontribs). 22:01, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

The article cites the IUCN red list and states that the species is Near Threatened however on searching the IUCN Red List the Monarch Butterfly has not even been evaluated. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:29, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvæ[edit]

Article in Nature by J.E. Losey, L.S. Rayor & M.E. Carter (HTML version, PDF version) -- (talk) 16:51, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

One in many responses: Scientist doubts GMOs hurt Monarch butterflies. In my opinion the material would be better off in the GMO article, or better yet Genetically modified food controversies. Pro bug catcher (talkcontribs). 14:40, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
P.S. But it might be a good idea to put a sentence or two on the controversy (in threats) and link to the proper section in the other article. Pro bug catcher (talkcontribs). 14:42, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Bad taste?[edit]

I thought this idea about monarchs tasting bad, and being mimicked by other species, had been discredited long ago. See Skookumpete (talk) 22:42, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm not certain what you mean. The discredited idea is that viceroys taste good. We now know both taste bad. (If i remember the articles I have read on the subject). Pro bug catcher (talkcontribs). 13:18, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Too many pictures[edit]

This article has far more pictures than it needs to illustrate the subject. Only the very best ones should be displayed and the others should be left on commons. -Ravedave (talk) 16:30, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Are there really too many pictures? I am a newer editor/contributor and so I don't necessarily understand the idea of too many pictures. I see this was posted over a year ago, so possibly things have changed. I'm willing to learn.

bpage (talk) 02:00, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Link Correction[edit]

In the External links section there is a link that has changed:

Monarch butterfly life cycle photographs

The new link is: (talk) 07:18, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

{{editsemiprotected}} I'm requesting that someone correct a link.

It is located at: External links Monarch butterfly life cycle photographs

The web site was located at Yahoo Geocites but Yahoo closed that service, so the web site has moved to:

Thanks, William 12/7/2009

Done. Thanks for catching that. –BMRR (talk) 19:21, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Edit request from Akdavis1972, 19 December 2010[edit]

{{edit semi-protected}}

Greetings. I am a scientist who studies monarch butterfly migration and I wish to contribute to this article.

I offer the following suggestion for the end of the section on migration, insert:

A recent study examined wing colors of migrating monarchs using computer image analysis and found migrants had darker orange (reddish colored) wings than breeding monarchs (Davis 2009).

Add this reference: Davis, A.K. 2009. Wing color of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) in eastern North America across life stages: migrants are ‘redder’ than breeding and overwintering stages. Psyche 2009: doi:10.1155/2009/705780. Link -

Akdavis1972 (talk) 13:11, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Done Thanks for passing along the information. Megan|talkcontribs 15:29, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Gender and origin of Latin name[edit]

In the present version, the article contains the following passage: "Since the species name and the genus name must agree in gender it has been suggested that Danaus is a masculinised version of Danaë (Greek Δανάη), Danaus’s great-great-granddaughter, to whom Zeus came as a shower of gold, which seemed to Robert Michael Pyle a more appropriate source for the name of this butterfly." In the attached note, someone has already mentioned: "the name, if Danaë had been intended, would simply have been Danae plexippe." Robert Michael Pyle, it seems, puts the world upside-down. The specific epithet should agree in gender with the generic name. But if it doesn't at first instance, it is not the generic name that is to be changed, but the specific epithet. In that light, the suggestion of Danaus being a masculinised version of Danaë, is a very strange one. Moreover, Linnaeus didn't make a mystery of the origin of these names: In the tenth edition of his Systema naturae, on page 467 he wrote: "Danaorum Candidorum nomina a filiabus Danai Aegypti, Festivorum a filiis mutuatus sunt." (The names of the Danai candidi have been derived from the daughters of Danaus, those of the Danai festivi from the sons of Aegyptus). There is a strong connection with Danaus here and not a single one with Danaë. Wikiklaas (talk) 14:25, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

As noone answered this remark, I changed the paragraph in the article accordingly. Wikiklaas (talk) 23:08, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

regarding effects of global warming include[edit]

Per a lab study published February 21 2013, in Current Biology, the Monarch's migratory behavior is connected to environmental temperature changes.[1] Orley “Chip” Taylor, insect ecologist of the University of Kansas, who was not involved in the new research, found the findings disturbing, saying, “It suggests that as temperatures warm, monarchs may be in trouble." (talk) 03:39, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Except for the heading of this contribution, you're quite right, and the article is indeed cited under "migration". Although you may have got the impression lately, not every paper on temperature discusses GLOBAL WARMING and this is a good example of a paper that doesn't (or just very indirectly). It is about the timing of the change in behaviour in the monarchs. The question was: "What triggers them to change from flying South to flying North?" The answer was that a cold period of at least 24 days is enough to induce the change in direction. Did you actually read the article before you cited it under "Habitat destruction"? For that subject has little to do with climate change, let alone behaviour of the butterflies, but is much more about pest control and changes in land use. It really helps to read an article before citing it. Wikiklaas (talk) 22:33, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
Of course, he didn't read the article. He's one of a number of socks of a an IP blocked for disruption of various sorts. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 09:52, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
To me, is just seemed a genuine but utterly unsuccessful attempt to add useful content to the article, not something to be blocked for. Wikiklaas (talk) 11:49, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
That's not entirely why he was blocked. In fact, I've lost track of all the reasons that he was blocked. Among the reasons are: adding links including WP:OVERLINKS, WP:EGGS, inappropriate Wikinews links, climate change whenever global warming appears in the article, and vice versa;removing WP:REDLINKs; adding bare references to talk pages, without explaining the material they were intended to support or the article the material was to be in; adding material from loosely relevant articles (again, using bare URLs), without regard as to whether the material is related to the article, would belong in that article rather than another related article, or is relevant to the article. I don't recall which of these were the reasons many of the IPs were originally blocked, but the reason he's being reblocked is that he was blocked in the first place, and obviously the same person, and he never asked for an unblock, even if he's caught. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 16:28, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Oh, hahaha, that seems to be overwhelming evidence. You obviously got the bigger picture. Cheers. Wikiklaas (talk) 17:22, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

File:Monarch In May.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Monarch In May.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on August 15, 2013. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2013-08-15. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. Thanks! — Crisco 1492 (talk) 22:54, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Monarch butterfly
The Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a milkweed butterfly and perhaps the best known of all North American butterflies (though it sometimes wanders to Oceania and Europe). Every year the population east of the Rocky Mountains goes on a southward migration and northward return, the only butterfly species to do so. Females, such as the one pictured here, will lay eggs during the trip; the migration spans the life of three to four generations.Photograph: Kenneth Dwain Harrelson

The monarch does not 'sometimes wanders to Oceania and Europe'. The monarch resides in Oceania on a year-round basis. Southern Spain also has year-round populations of resident monarchs. See the article for references on this.
bpage (talk) 01:32, 23 August 2014 (UTC)


Hi everyone. I am currently an undergrad, and I made some edits as part of an assignment. I rewrote some parts of the defense against predators section and added more information on the aposematism of the monarch. I also added some information in the predators sections. I feel that the Predators section is a little unorganized and could se some work. Also any other suggestions would be appreciated, thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Maximilianzhang (talkcontribs) 00:52, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Do Monarchs have a future?[edit]

We saw only two Monarchs this year. I hear the overwintering population has fallen so dramatically that it is hard to imagine they will find mates when they spread out into their summer range. Is the Monarch facing extinction next year? HowardMorland (talk) 06:05, 15 December 2013 (UTC)espond to other editoes

Please Sign Your Posts[edit]

Please sign your posts made to this talk page. It will make it easier to respond to other editors. You can do this by inserting four ~ after your post.

bpage (talk) 14:32, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Origin of Name[edit]

How does origin of name explain the origin of the name? I don't see the word monarch used anywhere in the section. Daniel.Cardenas (talk) 17:56, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

The "Origin of name" refers to the origin of the scientific name not the common name. The common name's origin is given under taxonomy but only vaguely. Dger (talk) 03:50, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

The origin of the name 'monarch' is ambiguous since there are more than one species. Your question will probably be answered by additional information in the future.

bpage (talk) 19:35, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Copyright violation[edit]

On the log of edit history of the article Monarch buttrfly the following edit was posted: 07:49, July 15, 2014‎ User:Mdann52 (talk | contribs]])‎ m . . (68,291 bytes) (-635)‎ . . (→‎top: rv link to copyvio material (Ticket:2014071510000218))

I would like to maintain that no copyright infringement was done. I referenced a url to a website, a normal and typical practice. No copyrighted material (the raw data itself) was/is used in this section of the article. No word-for-word text was copied from the reference and then pasted to the article.

There seems to be some confusion of what constitues a copyright violation. I can only say that this/these users are well-intentioned and are responding in good faith, wishing to enhance and improve the article. I have been privately contacted by a representive of Southwest Monarch Study via email. I would rather resolve this issue with the assistance other editors who have the expertise of determining copyright violations here on wikipedia rather than thru private corespondance.

bpage (talk) 02:42, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Pinging the following involved editors to centralise this discussion (Bfpage, please don't copy-paste messages all over multiple talkpages like this, it makes it very difficult to have a coherent conversation about the issue): @Mdann52:, @AZmonarchlady:, @Orangemike:, @Jackmcbarn:. Also, since a copyright expert might be helpful, @Moonriddengirl:.
A quick summation of events: On July 15th, AZMonarchlady (previously User:Southwest Monarch Study) changed the link in citation six from Billings' C to the Southwest Monarch Study website, and was subsequently blocked by Orangemike for spamming and username violations. Her unblock request explained that she had changed the link because Billings' map infringed the copyright on data held by the Southwest Monarch Study, and recommended a different link be used. Mdann52 also removed the link per an OTRS ticket from Southwest Monarch Study which claimed a violation of copyright. I subsequently accepted AZmonarchlady's unblock request, and do not believe that her edits had any promotional intent.
It is my understanding that under U.S. copyright law, raw data cannot be copyrighted. The expression of data, as in Billings' map, is subject to copyright, but by the creator of the expressive format, not the originator of the data. Since - to the best of my knowledge - Billings' map was generated from pure data, and not from a pre-existing map owned or created by the Southwest Monarch Study, I think I'm right in saying that while the map is copyrighted (to Billings), it is not a violation of Southwest Monarch Study's copyright (since the raw data from which it was derived cannot be held to be copyrighted). I therefore suggest that no copyright violation has taken place, and that the map is usable as a source on Wikipedia (its suitability as a source for that particular statement could be questioned, but I believe that, in abstract, it can be used).
I'd welcome other views on this, particularly those of the editors mentioned above. Yunshui  08:11, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Feel free to revert if the copyright status becomes clear - I decided to err on he side of caution here, especially due to vagueness of the email. I'm going to be without reliable internet for a few weeks, so if another user wishes to revert men, feel free to do so. This was done as a precaution, with no prejudge to bring reinstated if consensus is to do so. --Mdann52talk to me! 13:09, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
The map used on the link is not part of the publication cited. Is it okay to use a map that is not part of the publication in the citation's title?
During my research of being blocked, I learned that Wikipedia is not the place for primary references. The map citation in question is a graphical re-representation of primary data and nothing more. It has no analysis, is not published, and is not verifiable. It is also therefore a primary source and as such by my understanding does not belong on Wikipedia.
I also learned about promotion and self-promotion. Please look at the map cited and decide for yourself if it is self-promotion (if posted by Joe Billings) or promotion (if it was posted by someone else.) By my understanding of your guidelines it doesn't belong on Wikipedia, either. AZmonarchlady (talk) 14:12, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't see any particular need for the map to be used - the statement it sources can be better cited to secondary sources (there's one there at the moment, and I found this from the University of Minnesota as well, which could also be used). Personally - speaking as a layperson - I don't find that it adds anything to my understanding of Monarch migrations; it appears to be a meaningless collection of alphanumerics (presumed to be tag numbers?) and arrows (presumed to be migration direction) overlaid on a map. I'd be far happier using a secondary source that doesn't rely on reader interpretation.
I still don't think there's a copyright violation there, but I don't think it's very useful as a source. Yunshui  07:58, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for your perspective. The link you suggest has not yet been updated to respect current scientific opinion. Monarch Joint Venture is a highly respected overall monarch information source in the United States. Here is a link with a map that shows this information well: as another possibility. Is there any way another link could be considered instead of the existing map link that is used, and if so, what is the process? The current map link really doesn't take you anywhere for more information as you pointed out. At this time I feel this is more important for the public. I'd rather have a strong respected monarch organization like Monarch Joint Venture as a resource to help the public understand the complexity of the monarch migration in the east and west.

AZmonarchlady (talk) 01:49, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

The existence of a superior reference means the copyright status of the prior reference is irrelevant. The map on the page @AZmonarchlady: links to above is definitely easier to understand (although it is smaller and a bit blurrier). I'm sure that with a Google Image search, or a search of scholarly journals, an even better map from a an academic secondary source could be identified. If @Bfpage: is pursuing a GA or FA for this article, that kind of work will be necessary anyway. Nathan T 21:10, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Information originating from Monarch Joint Venture is undoubtably very credible. The information from the University of Minnesota neglects to include controversial and often ignored information that the Western population of monarchs sometimes migrates to overwintering sites in Mexico and Arizona. AZmonarchlady has participated in the tagging of migrating monarchs from the western population and has published this on her website. Her organization's credibility and research are strong and although she is not able to direct inquisitive article readers to her website to review her findings, I certainly can since I am unconnected to her organization. I agree to the removal of the map as a reference but I have better references that, out of good will and the goal of amicable consensus, I will post here on the talk page before they are included in the article. The discussion of references related to migration probably will be the only ones that I will post on the talk page s ince I make so many changes and add other references to other sections of the article that it might be overwhelming to those following the evolution of the article.
Let me also say how glad I am to see that there is some interest in the article by others. I am very thankful to you, other more experienced editors who are helping to make this article the best it can be. I know it sounds corny but I am pretty excited by all the participation of others.
bpage (talk) 00:40, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for your reconsideration and kind words. I appreciate your huge effort to get the word out. AZmonarchlady (talk) 03:28, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

New reference[edit]

Please excuse the following reference in its 'raw' and without the correct 'wiki' mark up language that is required to include it in the article. The following reference is from a very reputable organization - Monarch Watch. The map that exists on the webpage: suggests that some monarchs migrate northwest from Mexico during the spring and actually end up in California. Discussion?

Reference to northern migratory vectors[edit]

bpage (talk) 00:58, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

Monarch Watch is an excellent reference. However, the map in the link you are suggesting is the Spring Migration when the monarchs are flying north from Mexico. The Fall Migration is the time when both southwest and occasionally northwest migrational flight has occurred in the southwestern United States. Monarch Watch created a new map and it was presented as part of the Monarch Watch Blog in 2010: This map does show the directional flight in the southwest, but this does not appear to be on their website. The blog does contain the Monarch Watch logo, however. AZmonarchlady (talk) 03:21, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Excellent reference and one which we can definitely include when we continue to update our references. I did, as a matter of fact, realize that the map to which I referenced above shows the northern vectors that the butterflies take as they disperse in the spring. I did not intend to use the the reference which I proposed above to demonstrate the southern vectors. The southern routes that the butterflies take are well represented in later sections of the article. In my reading of Wikipedia the requirements for 'good' references suggests that blog postings are not necessarily the best sources compared to most of the types; although I believe a good case can be made to reference this particular blog posting/map. I sincerly appreciate your comments and I believe your input will only make the article better.
  Bfpage |leave a message  18:35, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Major revision to reproduction and life cycle section[edit]

I first moved the sexual selection section to the beginning of the article section, before the section on the life cycle. I removed the redundancies concerning spermatophores. I shortened sentences and I indicated where information needs to be cited.

bpage (talk) 01:27, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

References for larva and adults[edit]

There are almost no references to support the listing of Asclepias species as larval food plants. Where did this list come from?

bpage (talk) 01:23, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Latest edit by Cpolsgro[edit]

Thank you for your contribution to the monarch butterfly article. I shortened your edit for a number of reasons:

Monsanto is not the only company that manufactures glyphate herbicides. Five other companies manufacturer life phosphate herbicides.
This herbicide does not necessarily affect only the monarch butterfly.
It probably may be misleading to only list Monsanto as the manufacturer of these chemicals. You can see the entire list of companies that manufacture glyphosphate on page 59 of the petition.
I don't think it is useful to list all of the companies that manufactur glyphosphate
Perhaps a separate new article is more appropriate to address the companies that manufacture these chemicals. If you created an article like that, then you would be able to include all of the information on all of the companies, explain the chemical actions of the herbicide,. You would be able to reference materials that support the assertion that the use of these chemicals is harmful to the monarch. In addition, information on this glyphosphate is included in the article on Monarch butterfly migration.
You might want to check to see if an article about life phosphate already exists on Wikipedia.
Best regards,   Bfpage |leave a message  15:58, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Editing Taxobox[edit]

This help request has been answered. If you need more help, you can ask another question on your talk page, contact the responding user(s) directly on their user talk page, or consider visiting the Teahouse.

I have discovered that editing taxoxbox parameters is difficult since it requires some understanding of scripts. Plus an edit would affect thousands of articles. One of the parameters in taxobox is 'status'. The status for monarch butterfly currently=nt. The more accurate status is that the monarch butterfly status is unassessed. This is the status of the vast majority of lep articles/speices where in fact they are not threatened, or any of the other parameters that status= OR I am unable to find the image and status=abrevation for unassessed. The ICUN has not assessed Danaus plexipuss. The actual stat should be 'unassessed' 'rather than 'near threatened. Does this parameter even exist?

I have created an image that would allow the use of status=unassessed and will upload it to commons in a few minutes. I guess what I am asking is this: Can a taxobox be created for only me when I create an article or edit on leps so that people know the true ICUN status of a species?

The file I created is here

This image represents another way to inform viewers of taxoboxes that exist on most of the animal and plant articles that the status of the species that have not been assessed by the IUCN. Lepidopteran species that have no ICUN designation on

where Danaus plexippus is absent.

  Bfpage |leave a message  10:15, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

According to the documentation at Template:Taxobox, there are parameters "DD" for "Data deficient", which means they can't judge threat level, and "NE" for "Not evaluated (NE)", which means they haven't judged yet. I'll change the taxobox on this article accordingly. Huon (talk) 18:03, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Page views[edit]

Monarch butterfly has been viewed 100,247 times in the last 90 days. See it here:

  Bfpage |leave a message  21:47, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Family name[edit]

Bdedic recently emailed me asking about my edit changing the family name back to Nymphalidae: "Can you please explain to me why you changed my edit back on the Monarch butterfly page. I use many references including the Audubon and Peterson's field guides along with my college texts that clearly give the Danaidae family name for the Monarch, and you can clearly see the similarity in the genus and superfamily name. The brush-footed butterfly "Viceroy" is the butterfly with the Nymphalidae family name (which looks similar to the Monarch). Check it out for yourself if you don't believe me. . . "

For those not aware, taxonomists placed the family Danaidae within Nymphalidae, making the new family of the monarch Nymphalidae. This makes many traditional guides out of date (which happens all the time in entomology thanks to those ever so annoying vigilant taxonomists) I provided one example here [1], and there are plenty more recent ones to cite with Nymphalidae (or even a Google search even though some folks still use the old family name). Does anyone recall the original taxonomic revision where Danaidae was placed within Nymphalidae? It might be wortwhile to note that the family name changed since so many people are used to it, but even though Milkweed butterfly mentions this, it is also unreferenced. Danaidae has been defunct for some time now, but at a quick glance I can't find a reference discussing that directly. Just checking in case anyone else recalls something that would work here so I don't spend too much time on this. Kingofaces43 (talk) 15:54, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

ITIS ref on Monarch taxonomy Gaff ταλκ 17:49, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
The reference cited above does not reflect the most current research. Please see the article under the genome section. In addition, many other sources are cited that include a larger range then the above reference.
  Bfpage |leave a message  01:06, 4 November 2014 (UTC)
Found this listing the name specifically as defunct [2]. I was eventually lead to this source [3] which mentions a book that sounds like the holy grail of a secondary source for the taxonomy question with: "Historical efforts to circumscribe and arrange the danaines are described in detail in Ackery *Vane-Wright (1984)." The book is Milkweed butterflies, their cladistics and biology : being an account of the natural history of the Danainae, a subfamily of the Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae and sounds promising. Normally I don't like to use non-electronic sources on Wikipedia, but this sounds like it could be a pretty definitive review. It might take a couple weeks with my library right now, but I'll check it out and see what it says. Kingofaces43 (talk) 00:40, 5 November 2014 (UTC)
I did find that book to which you refer. And it is considered the holy Grail of milkweed butterflies. Unfortunately, the only copy that I can find, resides in the Carnegie museum of natural history Library. I currently do not have access to this library, it is used by researchers and curators in the museum itself. The book was recommended to me by Dr. Rawlings, the curator of Invertebrates Biology at the Carnegie. I have been told that I will be allowed access to this library and all I have to do is ask to see the book. I have read as much as I can of Vane-Wright. One of the librarians at the Carnegie library in Pittsburgh, which is directly connected to the Museum of Natural History, did allow me to take out the Vane-Wright and Akery Butterfly Biology book a couple of weeks ago. This was pretty exciting since the book is considered a reference edition and cannot be checked out. But one of the librarians liked my researching so much that he let me take it out on my library card. I really thought it was a criminal at that point, but I did get the book back in time to the library so that it wouldn't be charged any overdue fees. What a treasure trove! I tried to find it for sale online and I think it was going for about $400. I think we are all on the same page with this project, it's just that the references are as readily available as I would like them to be. It's kind of funny sometimes, the reaction you get when you tell people that you write for Wikipedia. As soon as I did mention this to the librarian, he became pretty cooperative.
  Bfpage |leave a message  19:54, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Awesome. My department's library has a copy checked out right now, but I'm going to get it recalled in December so I can look over it once work settles down a little. I can keep it for 4 months I believe (though it won't be that long), so I'll take some time to pick out what would be really useful in it and maybe scan a few sections for future reference. If we're going to use a source that's a little tougher to get, I'd like to get exact page numbers, etc. in case anyone wants to double check in the future. Kingofaces43 (talk) 20:14, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
I can't even begin to tell you how jealous I am. I hope you don't think that I'm too strange, but I just love the feel and odor of some of these old books. I'm just sorry that they are so hard to find.
  Bfpage |leave a message  20:47, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Just started reading, but I haven't found anything definitive yet. Just a simple sentence, from p. 17 "The danaines are treated by Ehrlich (1958a) as a sub-family of the Nymphalidae (sensu Kristensen, 1976) . . ." It later goes on to say that classification within Nymphalidae appears to be shaky. That's more of an editorial comment though. I'll read over the book this weekend and see what else we can gleam from it for this and other articles. Kingofaces43 (talk) 18:33, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Recent change to the section overwintering sites[edit]

this is just a friendly notice that I edited this section to remove some content that already exists in the Monarch butterfly migration article. In addition, I found some of the math to be a little confusing. The mathematical relationships between the population declines are presented graphically in the monarch butterfly migration article.

  Bfpage |leave a message  18:24, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

Article Size and Images[edit]

This recent edit removed images with the comment "removed images; the article is getting too long as it is". According to the article size guideline, this article is well under the 60kB guideline limit at 26kB of readable prose. There are many articles on Commons with a higher ratio of images than this article:

  • Cactus - Many sections have at least one image, quite a few have 5 or 6 per section. This is a Quality Article as well.
  • Narcissus_(plant) - There are large columns of images.

I don't find a collection of wing images to be unusual under the section describing the butterfly. I'd want to add more images besides that, but the Commons does not have everything I'd like to use. I want to add the images back in, but to prevent edit waring, let's discuss. -- RM 02:24, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Article size seems fine, but those removed images really didn't contribute anything unique, especially since the taxobox image shows all that already pretty much. There are plenty of images in this article. That doesn't mean we can't add more if they contribute something unique that is best described in a picture, but we also need to be concise. Kingofaces43 (talk) 02:44, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Two of the images were unique. this shows fine wing detail that is not visible on any other images on the page. this shows folded wings, which are not shown on the taxobox. I was planning on cropping this image down to be more useful, but it doesn't change it's illustrative value. Similarly, I was planning on cropping the female to better show just the wings. I was going to annotate both the male and female open wing images to show where the black spot is (or isn't). Done The taxobox does not serve this purpose. -- RM 02:55, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
You can see the venation, coloration, and the spots just fine in the taxobox images when you click on them. Normally something like folded wings aren't really useful for anything unless you are describing a unique trait to that species or group such as the difference between narrow-winged and spread-winged damselfies. A picture can be worth a thousand words when used right, but other times that can easily become unneeded clutter. In this case, we already have both open and folded wing images in the article, but it isn't exactly a feature that would have due weight for its own dedicated image. Kingofaces43 (talk) 03:13, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
How can folded wings be unimportant/not useful? This is the description section. There is color variation on the underside and compared with the top that can only be shown in pictures side by side. The butterfly spends the majority of its time with its wings folded. Folded wings may be more pertinent to the reader. The bias here is the (local) emphasis on open wings.
We lack quality illustrative folded winged monarch images. There is egg laying with out of focus wings, another feeding that has out of focus wings, one mating that is partially obscured, and one buried as a tiny thumbnail showing mimicry. All of these are nowhere near the description section.
These all serve a unique purpose.
Open wings of a female. Note the lack of black spots.
Open wings (male) with the black patch
Folded wings. The underside is dominated by a lighter shade of orange.
Wing detail showing the scales
-- RM 03:24, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
You just demonstrated we have more than enough images to show what the underside of the wings look like. I'm not sure what you're hoping to improve in the article by adding more, but it does appear to be undue weight right now the way you're presenting it. There is supposed to be a bias towards open wings because that's where identifying features are, whereas the underside doesn't really have additional distinct features (again back to due weight). Covering some information more than other pieces is what WP:NPOV is all about, which is the policy that handles what we "bias" an article towards. All you need to do is say the underside of the wings are a lighter orange in the text, and the reader can see it in the pictures already provided. No need for new content there.
Now the androconial scales are not pointed out directly in pictures, and that's something a reader won't quite know where to look for. Such an image focusing on those could go near the second to last paragraph of the Description section. Kingofaces43 (talk) 04:21, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
The bias in this article is quite the opposite. (1) There are images showing folded wings, but (a) none in the local vicinity of the description section (this is placement bias) and (b) the others are all deficient in some way for illustrating open wings because that's not their purpose. Our goal is not to find one image to illustrate as many concepts as possible at the expense of readability. (2) There is balance bias towards sexual dimorphism over species identification. The monarch species can be identified using only its underside and thus must be shown for this purpose. -- RM 04:38, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
This is a primarily text based encyclopedia supplemented by images. That means we aren't going to have every detail in the description section covered in images there. We cover the important details in images in that section when needed (i.e., these are males and females of the species since there is dimorphism). Minor details like having light orange undersides are relegated just to text and readers can pick up that detail in other images. That is how we deal with balance. Some things just get more prominence than others and there are varying ways to do that.
Now if we want to talk about species identification, that is not included in the article all yet. We'd need sources to generate some content first before we'd ever start worrying about images for proper taxonomic identification. However, keep in mind Wikipedia is not a journal or scientific textbook, so we shouldn't be going to that level of detail here in the first place. If someone wants to morphologically identify something down to species, that is not our job to provide that information, especially since it can be overly technical. Kingofaces43 (talk) 05:04, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
I am quite aware of Wikipedia's purpose, even helped write some of the policies. This article isn't even good article status yet. It's far away from violating WP:NOTJOURNAL and has no bearing on whether we show a folded wing butterfly in the description section. Nor is there any "overly technical" issue here. It does solve the placement bias, however.
I'm not suggesting covering every detail. There is nothing special about the upper vs. lower wings besides the presence of two black spots which is better illustrated using the highlighted method. By this conciseness standard we should have a single folded wing taxobox image and use the two highlighted male/female images in the description section for a total of only 3 images. Then the text could read that the upper wings have darker colors since that's a "minor detail".
I think that the presence of these "extra" photos adds to the article and takes up minimal space. The four images are quite concise and convey a lot of information that would require a lot of equivalent text to explain the same information. -- RM 05:29, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You're either getting a bit passionate or just missing some things I'm hitting on it seems, so I'm going to leave this until morning and give this all a chance to breath and hit it with a pair a fresh eyes. A few things in the meantime. You just said above that the underside is important for species identification. That's where the journal, etc. comments came in because actual species identification is very different from a general description. I said the article does not have such content, but that it would go there if we started into species identification. That's where those comments were based and it sounds like that may not have been clear based on your reply. For your second paragraph, that actually sounds like a good idea. It might be better to have a male picture be of the whole insect though because it may not be clear to readers where in relation to the insect body they are in the picture, and it would parallel the female highlighted image as well. Does that seem straightforward?

I'll work up a proposal when I have some time. -- RM 12:30, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
I seem to have been out of the loop for about a month. There is a little history to this discussion that doesn't appear in this particular thread. In 2013, I asked another editor who had authored many biology featured articles to take a look at the monarch butterfly article and give me some suggestions. Unfortunately, this discussion took place on my talk page instead of here in the article's talk space. He came up with a checklist and guidelines that he has used to create the many articles that he has authored. I have been slowly and mostly unsuccessfully been editing the monarch butterfly to match his suggestions.
One of his suggestions was to remove superfluous photographs of monarchs. Now, and no one wants to think that their photographs of monarchs are superfluous. I have even attempted to go to Wikimedia Commons to help categorize the thousands of photographs of monarchs that have been submitted. The monarch must be one of the most photographed butterflies on the planet. Going through the editing history looking for changes in the photographs will show that many times they get changed up. I usually don't have a problem with someone inserting one of their own photographs, it makes the article dynamic in interesting.
I would like to suggest the creation of a new article on wing morphology of the monarch butterfly. The discussion above about details on the wings can be extended to show the differences that occur on the wings of migrating monarchs versus non-migrating monarchs. Wing morphology changes during the migration and breeding seasons. Wing morphology is affected by temperature. Wing morphology is related to latitude and longitude. Wing morphology in Florida monarchs is different than wing morphology in the migrating North American population. We are lacking photographs of the Jamaican monarch and the South American monarch . Wing patterns. Wing morphology between these two species also is difference.
In addition, there have been genetic studies that have identified wing morphology genes. There is enough information out there to create an article just on the morphology of the monarch butterfly. I think it could be very interesting, perhaps in this kind of article he could get into the details of the wings. Some lepidopterist's believe that monarchs and queens can interbreed and that this hybrid also has some fascinating wing patterns. Maybe we could have an article on lepidopteran wing patterns.
I have been editing many leps articles during the past few years, most of them which lack photographs of the butterflies. Those are some articles that really use some help. I guess what I'm saying is that the possibility of a separate article on wing morphology might solve this whole problem. I certainly would be willing to help. I have lots of references on this topic.
  Bfpage |leave a message  22:51, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

Uppercase MOS animal names[edit]

To be totally transparent, I have come to this article as a consequence of issues raised at ArbCom. I believe this is my first edit here. I have noticed there are several upper/lowercase issues contrary to MOS naming of animals. I would normally make these edits myself to improve the encyclopaedia, however, I am mindful of the "tense relations" over at ArbCom and elsewhere. If other editors here give their agreement, I will make the edits to improve the article and the encyclopaedia. Of course, other editors are free to make these changes.DrChrissy (talk) 12:16, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

Re-added image to initial section on wings[edit]

Monarch wings

I gave my reasoning here. petrarchan47คุ 04:22, 17 October 2015 (UTC)

In the relatively long Monarch article, there are 19 sections of text, only 6 of them include an image. Including the Lede, there are 8 images, besides the Larvae gallery. From the Manual of Style/Images:
WP:RELEVANT "[I]mages are to be determined by relevance." "Effort should therefore be made to improve quality and choice of images or captions in articles rather than favoring their removal" Articles that use more than one image should present a variety of material near relevant text
The image shows the details being discussed in the paragraph. Without this image, the reader is getting intricate details about the spots and colors of the wings, but would have to leave that section and scroll up to the Lede, and far down the page for an image of these details. The other images don't highlight the details as well, either. This image is unique in that the sun is illuminating the wings. petrarchan47คุ 04:42, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
The lede image is a featured image, the one below it assessed as a Quality image. Both are beautifully presented, excellent colours, good bokeh, taken using a DSLR. And then we have this image, taken with an iPhone. Nothing personal, but it just doesn't stand against the first two in IQ. It is painful. I have removed it because it hiurts my eyes. --Pete (talk) 05:55, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
Well alrighty then. petrarchan47คุ 09:00, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
Quality looks good on this one. The question though is what is the relevance with this one? The underside of the wings don't have anything particularly identifying morphologically, and we include this similar image a few times throughout the article already.
Additionally, I should also point out we did have consensus to include pictures on the androconial scales awhile back. These images were included in that discussion, and I'm thinking about including the male picture and the picture of scales for some unique images. Kingofaces43 (talk) 04:47, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
Open wings of a female. Note the lack of black spots.
Open wings (male) with the black patch
Folded wings. The underside is dominated by a lighter shade of orange.
Wing detail showing the scales

Innate abilities[edit]

The migration of the Monarchs is arguably one of the best examples of innate animal behaviour. However, this is not discussed in the article. I propose to enter a sub-section on this.DrChrissy (talk) 00:25, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

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Suggestions for improvements -- Pacific Island origins; Description of butterfly[edit]

Pacific Island origins[edit]

I was hoping / expecting to find something in this article about how Monarchs came to be in Hawaii and other non new-world locations. I am assuming that any found in Asia / Pacific Islands are a deliberate human rather than blown-off-course natural introduction, but some comment (if only to say unknown) would improve the article. If I find something I will add it, but in the meantime ... The text could be added to Human interactions, a currently rather weak section, if it is clearly a human manipulation. Otherwise, the information could be added to either of another existing section -- Migration or Conservation.


First impression reading: it is odd for the section on Description to BEGIN with "Commonly and easily mistaken for the similar viceroy butterfly, ..." Describe the butterfly first, then note the similarities to the Viceroy.

Something such at this: The Monarch butterfly is a large orange butterfly with strongly marked dark veins; male and female can be distinguished by color differences. The upper sides of the wings are tawny-orange, the veins and margins are black, and in the margins are two series of small white spots; the monarch’s wingspan ranges from 8.9 to 10.2 centimetres (3.5–4.0 in).[5]. Monarch forewings also have a few orange spots near their tips. ...

Although its bold pattern makes it distinct from most butterflies, it is commonly and easily mistaken for the similar viceroy butterfly, (see below -- Mimicry).

(I don't want to make this change and fall into the middle of an edit war, instead want to encourage those who are the main contributors to the article.) GeeBee60 (talk) 12:29, 1 May 2016 (UTC)


Third paragraph: "After a ten-fold drop in the population of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last decade, a 2016 study predicted an 11%–57% probability that this population will go quasi-extinct over the next 20 years."

Quasi-extinct as a concept seems poorly defined and rarely used. "Quasi" itself is somewhat of a weasel word ("almost", "virtually", "apparently", etc.) From what I can tell, it means essentially that the population has fallen below the extinction threshold, which is a concept that is well-defined and, surprise, has a Wikipedia article. Can this section be re-written, or at least hyperlink the phrase quasi-extinct to point to the extinction threshold article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:26, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

  • It seems more likely that whoever authored the text was unaware that biologists use the term "extirpated" for cases where a specific population is selectively wiped out, rather than an entire species; it is the population-level equivalent of extinction, and does appear to be what the original reference was discussing. Dyanega (talk) 02:12, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

When and where do they breed??[edit]

The article contains the following: "During the breeding season adults reach sexual maturity in four or five days, however, the migrating generation does not reach maturity until overwintering is complete. Monarchs typically live for two to five weeks during their breeding season." - When is the breeding season? - What is a "breeding season adult"? - Has a breeding season adult overwintered? - If so, what is the significance of 4 or 5 days? - If not, how can they only live for two to five weeks and then overwinter? - Does breeding take place at overwintering locations, or elsewhere? (talk) 20:02, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

In order: (1) the breeding season is roughly 9 months of the year, basically any time they are not overwintering or migrating south. (2) any adult that is not migrating south or overwintering is a breeding season adult. (3) Only the first wave of reproductives of the breeding season has overwintered. (4) it takes 4 or 5 days after emerging from the pupa (i.e., becoming an adult) to begin laying eggs. (5) Relatively speaking, only a few of them overwinter, because there are several generations each year, and only the LAST batch of offspring each season overwinter. These individuals postpone reproduction and start the cycle again the following spring. (6) Breeding takes place everywhere EXCEPT the overwintering locations. Note also that this all only applies to migratory populations in North America. The populations in the Pacific and South America do not behave this way. Dyanega (talk) 17:55, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
Can any of this go into the article? The article presently provides just enough information to beg the questions. (talk) 19:51, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

General Comments[edit]

The language maintained throughout is objective and concise; moreover, the categorization of each topic ensures that the flow of this article remains organized instead of disjointed. Although the article is relatively comprehensive, there are several sections that I think could be included, but these are completely open to debate. 1) Although the host plant species that are chosen is included, the article does not mention behavioral tactics used by a female to select a host plant. Including this category could explain adaptive behaviors employed by parents for that can apply to the ideal free distribution for resource competition. 2) Reproduction has been described briefly. More detail on mating behaviors could indicate sexual preferences and advantages for male and female organisms of the species. 3) The puddling behavior is noted within the page, which in some species (like the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail) can manifest in aggregations of butterflies. By including more content on the possible social aspects of puddling, the article could identify, suggest, or reject the existence of grouping, cooperative, and competitive behaviors among Monarch Butterflies.

J.Prakash2344 (talk) 12:52, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

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Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 00:06, 22 January 2018 (UTC)


In my opinion, not enough is said about the subspecies. Probably as much as 99% of the article refers to D. p. plexippus and its migration. At least, the subspecies are listed under Taxonomy and there is this information: "D. p. megalippe (Jacob Hübner, [1826]) – nonmigratory subspecies, and is found from Florida and Georgia southwards, throughout the Caribbean and Central America to the Amazon River." But a lot more needs to be said about these other monarchs and their migration or lack of it. Most people aren't even aware of their existence and think that the North American migratory one is the only one. --Polinizador (talk) 15:03, 31 January 2018 (UTC)